NEW YORK — A former New York State Senate leader and his son were convicted on Tuesday of extortion, wire fraud and bribery charges of pressuring businesses to give the son no-show jobs or else risk losing the powerful Republican’s political support.
ALBANY (WSKG) – Several corruption trials are set for 2018 after a scandal involving nine of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former associates who worked on his administration’s economic development projects. Advocates say they will continue to push for reforms to prevent such problems from happening again. At an Assembly hearing this week, Alex Camarda, who is with government reform group Reinvent Albany, admonished lawmakers. He told them he’s disappointed that they failed to act on measures to change the way billions of dollars in state contracts are solicited and awarded, even though several of Cuomo’s former associates are facing federal trials on corruption charges next year. “In fact, the Legislature did not pass any legislation,” Camarda said.
A bill that could address corruption in Albany is progressing in the state Legislature, but it might not be the measure that Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to become law. Several former Cuomo associates, including a former top aide, face federal corruption trials on charges of bribery and bid-rigging in connection with the contracts for some of the governor’s signature economic development projects, including the Buffalo Billion. A bill proposed by State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli would give the comptroller the power to oversee economic development contracts in the future and potentially flag any signs of illegal activities. The comptroller had the authority to review the contracts until 2011, when that power was taken away in an agreement by Cuomo and the Legislature. Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco, who is sponsoring the bill in that house, said he wants to correct what many now acknowledge was an error. “This is the way things used to be,” said DeFrancisco, who added the comptroller was “mistakenly” taken out of the process because Cuomo convinced lawmakers that the extra scrutiny just slowed the projects down.